White Faced Ibis meets Peregrine Falcon

I heard about this clip today at Discover Wild New Hampshire Day. White Faced Ibis are uncommon in New England – to see an Ibis predated by a Peregrine and to be rolling tape at the same time? Buy a lottery ticket. I’m with the guy who says, “Can somebody else be really excited about this?”

“Mike Blust’s ornithology class from Green Mountain College, Poultney, VT, gets to see white-faced ibis (rare in Massachusetts) and the realities of nature. The falcon itself had a damaged left eye. It had been making passes at the ibis for about 10 minutes before this happened.”

Frogger’s BBQ 2010 edition

It was last weekend and it was great. A few pictures:

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My BBQ flickrset is here and some other photos are here.

Also making an appearance was an ordnance-grade veggie – the ghost pepper.  Small pieces were eaten by brave souls, but I did not sample. I enjoy hot food, but any pepper that causes your eyes to start to tear from two feet away will have to wait (a long time). Apparently, once you get past the initial shock, you get a pretty good endorphin rush.

Cherry Crisp

I’m posting this as a memory aid for myself and as info for you, dear reader. I’m getting closer to a really good cherry crisp – this is where I ended up with the last batch of the season’s cherries:

  • Start with this recipe.
  • Double the cherry qty – I used almost 5 cups. Lowball the sugar – fat 3/4 cup to scant 1 cup.
  • Add some almonds to the topping after the butter’s been incorporated (that would be a metric ‘some’, not an English ‘some’).
  • More almonds on top of the topping.
  • 9″ square baking pan.

Now, THAT was a good day

Wow – that was fun. Up early to run dogs and then off to the southwestern corner of NH, where the cacti and mesas frolic (or not). First stop was at Callahan & Co. Booksellers to sell some dupe/no longer needed sporting books. Hard to imagine, but I came out of Mr. Callahan’s barn upside down (I spent more than he paid me).

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From there to the Toadstool in Peterborough to see the Noted Nature Writer do a talk and book signing event. I got there early, so first I had some pie for breakfast:

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And did a little looking around:

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The talk was wonderful – from there the posse went to Deering where I helped put new bracelets on a gos, much hawking was talked and I met more interesting people. Back home, another dog run – they’re all fast asleep now – and that’s it for me!

The San Bartolo murals

Back in 2001, William Saturno found the San Bartolo murals.

When archaeologist William Saturno went to Guatemala six years ago, nothing worked out the way he planned. None of the local guides could take him to see the carved monuments he wanted to research, leaving him with nothing to do.

“Not being particularly good at sitting around and twiddling my thumbs,” Saturno says, he decided to investigate a rumor that three hieroglyphic Maya monuments had been uncovered by looters in the jungle nearby.

According to the map, Saturno and his guides could reach the monument site by driving forty kilometers and then trekking on foot through the jungle. At the beginning of the road that would take them to the site, however, Saturno’s team encountered a sign that read “Camino en mal estado.” The sign itself was falling apart, Saturno says. “That should have been an indication of what we were in for.”

After an arduous, twenty-two-hour journey, the group finally arrived at the San Bartolo site, which wasn’t the one they were looking for. Exhausted and dehydrated, Saturno ducked into a looter’s trench to escape the oppressive heat. “I shone my flashlight up on the wall,” he says, “and there was the mural.” *

I’ve heard him describe the trip and apparently “exhausted and dehydrated” is an understatement.

One of the Peabody Museum’s current exhibits is “Storied Walls: Murals of the Americas“; two walls of one room are devoted to the San Bartolo murals. There are some photos of the murals, but what held my interest were the 2 digital scan+watercolor recreations by Heather Hurst. Absolutely amazing – religious sequential art.

I’m going to post a couple thumbnails here, but no slide show. If you’de like to see more, please click through to my Flickrset – I’ve annotated some of the picture and all of them ought to be seen BIG.

Bloodletting was an important ritual practice. Stingray spines were used: women – tongues, men – foreskins (at least that’s what the plaque said – looks a little far back to me).

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NPR’s Talk of the Nation on San Bartolo here. I have a video tour of the site stashed somehere – if I find it, I’ll post a link.

UpdateVideo here. You may have to download and play it locally – it played fine for me under Windows using VLC.

Thinking about fall

“One should not talk to a skilled hunter about what is forbidden by the Buddha” -Hsiang-yen

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A gray fox, female, nine pounds three ounces.
39 5/8″ long with tail.
Peeling skin back (Kai
reminded us to chant the Shingyo first)
cold pelt. crinkle; and musky smell
mixed with dead-body odor starting.

Stomach content: a whole ground squirrel well chewed
plus one lizard foot
and somewhere from inside the ground squirrel a bit of aluminum foil.

The secret.
and the secret hidden deep in that.

- Gary Snyder

Bugs 'n clams

Great outing last night – off with my friend E to do battle with Homarus americanus (often referred to as bugs in these parts) and steamers (softshelled clams). Dee-lish! While waiting for E, I spotted a pirate and 2 wenches exiting the NH Liquor Store – some folks shilling for a rum brand – funny and odd. After dinner E went swimmin’ – too cold for your humble correspondent.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Food

Inspired by Xtin (polite way of saying “I’m a copycat”) and menu-wise by Xeni J’s tweets from Guatemala, I decided to document this evening’s eats. On the menu: lamb stew. No recipe – this one is a matter of standing back and throwing appropriate ingredients into the pot and seasoning to taste.

To start – put 4 slices of bacon into a stew pot. Cook the bacon until it’s done to your liking; set it aside to drain. Brown 1 1/2 to 2 lbs. of cubed stew lamb (in 3 – 4 batches) in the bacon grease over high heat. While you’re browning the lamb, eat the bacon. Reduce heat a bit and toss 2 chopped onions and a bunch of garlic into the pot (add oil if you need to – I did). When the onions are done – I went for somewhere between translucent and browning – put the lamb back in.

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Get the heat back up a bit and pour a bottle of beer over everything.

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Add seasonings and simmer uncovered until you reduce the liquid a bit, then cover. I seasoned with cumin, a tiny bay leaf, a small cinnamon stick and some canned chipotles (with some of the adobo they were canned in thrown in for good measure). I should have used lots of green chiles, but the can of smoked red ones was irresistible.

I usually let the stew rest for an hour or so at this point – a matter of scheduling and doing a little taste mingling. Today was no different. When it’s time to get moving again, dump in 1 or 2 cans of beans. I like small white ones – Great Northerns got the nod today. You can do what you like, but I am not a fan of kidney beans in a dish like this – they’re obtrusive – big, thick skins, too chewy and too much color.

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Serve garnished with a handful of cilantro; sour cream and a piece of corn pudding on the side. You could put cheese on top – I’d think queso menonita would work – or cheese on the side with some fry bread. Yum.

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While eating, think about milpas, Peckinpah and a shady ramada.